Police kill militant group commander and deputy in Indian Kashmir

Indian paramilitary soldiers near the site of a gunfight in Pampore in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Aug 20. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - The top commander of a militant group and his deputy, allegedly involved in dozens of target killings, have died in a shootout, Indian police in Kashmir said on Monday (Aug 23).

Abbas Sheikh, chief of the militant group The Resistance Front (TRF), and Saqib Manzoor were killed during a shootout in Srinagar, the main city of Indian Kashmir, Mr Vijay Kumar, the police chief of Kashmir, told Reuters.

Mr Kumar said the militants were involved in dozens of target killings, including the murders of Mr Babar Qadri, a prominent lawyer, and a few workers of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

TRF is an offshoot of Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba, Mr Kumar said.

India and neighbouring Pakistan have disputed Kashmir since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both countries claim it in full but rule it in part.

More than 50,000 people have been killed in over three decades of insurgency in Kashmir - which India accuses Pakistan of fomenting through support of Muslim militant groups fighting India's security forces in its part of the divided region.

Pakistan says it offers only political support to its fellow Muslims in the Himalayan region.

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